Sumatra

We were a 4H family for many years and, as testimony, our attic is full of ribbons, rosettes, and trophies. During their individual tenures the kids raised swine, poultry, beef, sheep, rabbits, and goats. The only animals that remain from those Glory Days are Sultan and Sateen, Molly’s breeding pair of Black Sumatra show birds. They have very poor manners because rather than roosting in the layer house (as all good birds should) the pair has always spent their nights above the hay. Although they are only eight years old I think Sultan has been feeling his age. He must have become disoriented last night because I found him, hours before sunrise, on the ground in the middle of the driveway this morning. It was clear that he was sleeping when I picked him up to put him back on his roost. He must have been quite cold with his feet in the snow, something all chickens abhor. He and Sateen spent most of their morning warming themselves in a very sunny spot.

Chick2

14 thoughts on “Sumatra

  1. Oh no, that sounds terrible, I hope it doesn’t happen too often. I have never done anything like that, raised animals to show them, it seems like a whole different world.

  2. Poor Sultan, I bet he was glad to see you. I would never have thought to photograph a sumatra against a black background but this works splendidly!

  3. Gorgeous – I found one of my Araucanas in the snow last week also. She had stayed out of the coop/coopyard all evening and was a bit disoriented. Fortunately it was warmer than it is now. But, hey, what I wanted to exclaim about was the stunning photo and congrats on such a good life – 8 years WOW!

    • Hey T … you’ve been busy this morning. But I’m feeling really guilty! I am. Even though I log on to my WordPress account each and every morning in eager anticipation of your insightful and always delightful comments … please do not feel that you’re under obligation to say something about every post (‘likes’ are equally appreciated and much, much, easier). I really am feeling guilty that you somehow feel obligated to do so. Please forgive the rate at which I’ve been coming up with entries lately … the University has been on winter break. But have no fear, classes do start up again next week. If there were a Follower Hall of Fame you would have been inducted long ago. Thanks, as always. By the way … ‘Stop Motion’ stuff .. what’s that? Also … there must have been something in the Avian Air this week such that we both had a bird that lost its way during the night … silly birds. Thanks again for your dedicated attentions. D

      • Yay, I’m a Hall of Famer! No worries re:comments – I have a few blogs I feel dedicated to, yours being one of them, and it’s like chatting with old friends. But yes, I’m on the run and so don’t always sit down to read very faithfully. Never feel guilty, nope, not at all. Stop Motion – I’ll be posting some examples soon – she’s editing one in particular for me to put up on the blog. It’s a series of photos edited into video format. Her preferred choice of cinematography. She does a great job with it and has done some stuff on the farm that will be fun to share.

  4. Oh my … asleep in the snow 😦 So sad! Good thing you were up early to save him! I have to say, I like your landscapes but I LOVE the images with the animals. The sheep, cat, horse and now the chickens. They really give the pics some personality! Those birds ARE lovely. This is probably a dumb, city-girl question, but … do they lay eggs? And if so, are they a different color from regular chicken eggs?

    • Yes … Sumatra hens lay eggs. All hens will lay even without a rooster but will only produce fertile eggs when one is around. Production is somewhat dependent upon day length and all egg breeds tend to slow down a bit over winter even if you extend their ‘day’ with night lights. Ours are only producing sporadically at the moment. The breeds we raise were selected because they lay brown eggs … Joanna’s New England heritage dictates that she cannot abide a white egg. Other than breeds such as the Araucana (also known as the Americana) which lay eggs which range in color from blue-green to shades of turquoise and olive most layers produce either white or brown eggs. Did you know that you can determine which color egg a chicken will lay by the color of its ear lobes! White ear lobes, white eggs … red ear lobes, brown eggs. It’s true what they say … you learn something new each and every day. I’ll end with a funny chicken anecdote … long ago, in a galaxy far away, I had a student ask me, “How does the egg get in the chicken in the first place?” D

      • Oh my! How did you answer that question? Did you blush? Perhaps you should have deferred it to his/her parents! Probably never had the birds and the bees discussion! Didn’t know about the ear lobes. Never really thought about chickens and their ears. That could be a question on Jeopardy … a true or false one!

  5. Aww, poor little old man. It’s always tough to see formerly glorious barnyard kings get old and confused. Hopefully the warm morning sun made him feel back on top of his world 🙂

    • Hey … there you are. I was thinking about you last evening … as I fussed on Shutterfly with edits of the Switzerland wedding album! Thanks for dropping in this morning. D

    • That’s Sateen, the hen. A chicken’s feet are its weakest link in winter. When they roost they can hunker down and cover the feed with plumage. As it was Sultan couldn’t do this because he was on solid ground. He was in double trouble … he couldn’t cover the feet and legs and the former were in the snow and ice. He’s fine today however. D

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